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New Drug For ALS Treatment In 22 Years Approved By FDA

By Staff Writer | May 08, 2017 02:04 AM EDT

The US Food and Drug Administration has finally approved the first new drug for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or more known to the public as ALS. The drug that would be for the treatment of the disease has been in pending at the agency for more than two decades.

In an article published in CNN, the FDA has announced last Friday that the drug for ALS called Radicava, which is also known as edaravone, has been finally approved for use in the United States. Currently, people with ALS are using riluzole as their prescripted drugs, as it was approved for treatment use in the United States back in 1995.

In an article published in Forbes, a test conducted in Japan had researchers have found out that people suffering from ALS who received edaravone had a smaller decline in their level of daily functioning compared to those who only received placebo. The maker of edaravone, the MT Pharma, said that the drug has slowed the decline of physical function by 33 percent.

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Deputy Director of FDA's neurology products division Eric Bastings said that upon learning the use of edaravone in treating people with ALS in Japan, they quickly engaged with the drug developer about filing a marketing application in the US. "This is the first new treatment approved by the FDA for ALS in many years, and we are pleased that people with ALS will now have an additional option," he said.

The ALS Association, a non-profit organization, said that they support and applaud FDA's decision of approving the drug that could help people suffering from the disease. "We hope [the] announcement signals the beginning of a new chapter in the fight against this terrible disease," ALS Association President Barbara Newhouse said in a statement.

The drug's current listed price is $1,000 per infusion. It means that people with ALS will have to pay to nearly $150,000 a year for treatment. MT Pharma said that Radicava will be available in the country this August.

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